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20 July 2004 -- The death toll from a gas explosion at a coal mine in eastern Ukraine late yesterday has grown to more than 30.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev today said 31 bodies had been recovered and five are still missing, as rescuers battled fire and smoke in the search for surviving miners.
The blast hit a section of the Krasnolimanskaya mine in the eastern Donetsk region about 970 meters below the surface. Of the 48 miners who were at work at the time of the explosion, 12 managed to escape.
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Energy Minister Serhiy Tulub, and Minister of Labor Mikhaylo Papyev traveled to the site of the incident and pledged to allocate 2.5 million hryvna ($470,000) for the victims' families.
The Krasnolimanskaya explosion is Ukraine's most deadly mining accident in two years, since a July 2002 fire killed 33 miners.